Friday, February 29, 2008

Avi Shafran Shows His True Colors - Did He Learn From the Catholic Church?
Ralph Underwager / Hollida Wakefield/ Rabbi Avi Shafran

From The Awareness Center's Daily Newsletter:
Will anyone ever be able to set Rabbi Avi Shafran straight?

Once again, Rabbi Avi Shafran who is the public spokesperson (Director of Public Affairs) of Agudath Israel of America is speaking out on a topic he knows very little about.

A few years ago I went back and forth with Shafran in an e-mail exchange regarding various statistics and issues pertaining to survivors and sex offenders. Unfortunately, the folks Rabbi Avi Shafran was quoting included Ralph Underwager and Hollida Wakefield. For those of you who are unaware of these two psychologists, they are well known for defending alleged and convicted sex offenders. They are both known to support the propaganda that "we should all be fighting to protect the civil rights of pedophiles as we fight for gay rights." Several years both Underwager and Wakefield provided interviews for Paidika - a European pro-pedophile publication (see links below). After going around in circles several times, I finally let Rabbi Avi Shafran know about the controversy behind his experts who he was quoting.
We need to demand that the news media require Rabbi Avi Shafran to show his credentials, proving or disproving his expertise in the sexual violence field, prior to publishing articles by him. I think we all deserve to read accurate information instead of theories created by a man who feels the need to defend the rabbonim of charedi community. His writings are very similar to those who defend the Catholic church after years of covering sex crimes.

Also see:

Vicki Polin, MA, LCPC, NCC, ATR-BC - Executive Director
The Awareness Center, Inc.
(international Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault)
From the Long Island Psychologist
Michael J. Salamon, Ph.D., FICPP
Adult Developmental Center -
Senior Psychologist/Director
Executive Board Member - The Awareness Center, Inc.

As the Long Island psychologist Rabbi Shafran refers to I feel the need to respond. I should first make it clear that references were included in the Jewish Press article but were edited out by the editorial staff. It should also be noted that in addition to psychology I have an advanced degree in research and statistics. As far as the data is concerned, the approach being used to understand it by Rabbi Shafarn is, as I explained to him elsewhere, is completely inaccurate. We are dealing with a design known in the field as survey research. This is not a simple case of comparing two medications or two distinct groups, as Rabbi Shafran would have us believe. In order to perform a survey of this type, data has to be drawn from the population and examined on its own. In fact, there have been approximately seven such studies done since the 1980's all with similar findings. Further the CDC and the NYC Department of Mental Health compile data that is publicly available for analysis. Gathering this information requires something referred to as a multi-trait multi-method approach. In other words, if all the studies arrive at similar finding, regardless of the techniques used or the specific sub-sample, than conclusions are increasingly valid. Such is the case here. As far as being critical of frum society I find that a fallacious comment not worthy of responding to. What is, however, most troubling is how easy it is to miss the real point. There is a problem that is not being adequately addressed.
From Failed Messiah Blog
Will Rabbi Avi Shafran Ever Stop Lying?
Failed Messiah
February 28, 2008

Rabbi Avi Shafran again proves himself to be incapable of understanding the harm he does. Rabbi Shafran would have you believe…

…criticism of Shafran (and, by extension, of
Marvin Schick) for his behavior surrounding the New York Jewish Week's' coverage of the Michelle Friedman, et al, paper on women and sexual abuse in Orthodoxy.

Shafran, whose
Jerusalem Post column appears at first glance to be identical to a Cross Currents blog post from late last week, would like you to believe all criticism directed toward him is based on one idea – that sexual abuse in haredi society is at the same level as sexual abuse in non-Jewish (or Jewish but non-haredi) society.
But Shafran's argument is false.

Certainly, some people criticized him by claiming that Friedman's
AJP study proved abuse rates are the same in haredi society as outside of it.

Most people, however, criticized him for minimizing sexual abuse within haredi society and for giving short shrift, both to victims and their advocates.

Shafran's Jerusalem Post and Cross Currents pieces rely heavily on a
brief paper written by Dr. Nachum Klafter for Rabbi Gil Student's blog Hirhurim. Dr. Klafter notes:

This study provides no conclusive information about the rate of sexual abuse in our communities, and should not factor into Jewish communal policy decisions.

And this would seem to support Shafran – unless the entire paper is read as a whole. Because Dr. Klafter points out the failings in the arguments made by haredim like
Marvin Schick. Dr. Klafter also notes the study's authors themselves made it perfectly clear that no sweeping conclusions could be drawn from the study, and they did this before the Jewish Week wrote its article and before haredim like Schick and Shafran complained.

And Dr. Klafter concludes his paper this way:

…From my perspective as a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, I believe that there is still not enough being done in Orthodox communities to prevent sexual abuse of children. The areas which I believe would be the most productive are preventive education for parents and children, and mandatory criminal background checks for all employees of day schools, seminaries, yeshivas, and summer camps. My perspective is informed by the following: (1) an understanding of the devastating consequences of childhood sexual abuse which comes from in-depth psychotherapy treatment of numerous patients who continue to struggle with the consequences of it during adulthood, (2) being privy to numerous incidents of sexual abuse in Orthodox communities across North America which have been horribly mishandled when mental health professionals and law enforcement were not involved, and (3) seeing numerous incidents of sexual abuse in Orthodox communities where involvement of the legal authorities and mental health professionals was enormously helpful to victims and their families, as well as to institutions and communities as far as preventing further incidents of abuse.

This may be why Rabbi Shafran, the official spokesperson for Agudath Israel of America, failed to link to Dr. Klafter's paper (or mention its source, for that matter) in his Cross Currents post. The Jerusalem Post article also contains no link or mention of Hirhurim.

Shafran then draws a conclusion from the study that also cannot be drawn, for the very same reasons the study's authors warned that no conclusions should be drawn:

Both of the recent papers, moreover, noted that the study's data in fact yields the remarkable (yet somehow unremarked upon by the
Jewish Week) fact that the survey respondents who were raised Orthodox were 50% less likely to have experienced sexual abuse than those from non-Orthodox homes. Considering that the survey asked if abuse occurred at any point in respondents‚ lives, it is plausible if not likely that much of the abuse reported among those raised non-Orthodox occurred before they joined observant communities.

First of all, Shafran (intentionally, I believe) ignores what is the most likely reason for that disparity – ba'al teshuvas (BTs), people not brought up Orthodox but who have later adopted a haredi lifestyle, are more likely to speak about sexual abuse than women who grew up under the haredi system of Omerta.

Secondly,those same BTs are trained to despise the secular society they left behind. Speaking about abuse that took place in that non-haredi society reinforces their newly held religious beliefs. That means BTS are more likely to discuss sexual abuse that took place before they became haredi, while haredim are less likely to discuss abuse that takes place within haredi society.
Worst of all is this:

NONE OF which, of course, is to deny either that abuse exists in the Orthodox community (as it does in all communities) or that all communities, including the Orthodox, have a responsibility to put effective measures into place to prevent it. But the fact of its existence in the Orthodox world is no justification for drawing unwarranted conclusions about its extent there.

The background checks Dr. Klafter calls for have been rejected by Agudath Israel of America, which has fought mandatory background checks for all religious school employees in New York State. It refused to deal with the issues of sexual abuse and rabbinic pedophilia at its convention, and its
rabbis have been widely linked to cover ups of rabbi-on-boy sexual abuse.

Dr. Klafter wants measures taken to stop sexual abuse and pedophilia in haredi society. Rabbi Shafran opposes those measures, and his organization has done nothing significant to stop sexual abuse and pedophilia in the communities it claims to represent.

And that is the truth behind Avi Shafran's spin.

Download shafran_crosscurrents.pdf (warning: crosscurrents is owned and operated by alleged sex offender Rabbi Yaakov Menken -

AJP Paper

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Letter from a parent in Baltimore regarding the program on sexual abuse put together by the vaad

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The following came from the Awareness Center

Shmuel Juravel / Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro

Letter from a parent in Baltimore
Permission was granted to publish this letter

The case of
Shmuel Zev Juravel is a perfect example of what happens when the rabbis in our community know about an active pedophile and cover up his crimes. Shmuel Juravel, now convicted and serving a sentence of 22 years, reportedly continued to victimize hundreds of boys first in Baltimore and later in Savannah, Georgia, after parents of victims repeatedly reported Juravel's crimes to Rabbis Yaakov Hopfer and Moshe Heinneman. We have learned the hard way that surveillance by rabbis is not a viable option.

It is incredibly sad that Shmuel Juravel's crimes were only stopped after decades of him sexually victimizing children, when he was finally caught in an FBI sting operation, after he answered an ad soliciting relations with boys in Alabama.

According to the
Bureau of Missing and Exploited Children only three percent of pedophiles ever get caught. As parents and community members we all need to be concerned about all the other sex offenders who are protected by our rabbis and living under the radar in our community. At this time we cannot trust our rabbis to keep us safe.

Think about it, what kind of
surveillance did the rabbis use years ago when Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro, past principal of TA, victimized hundreds of students for decades. Can we believe the rabbonim back then had no idea that Ephraim Shapiro was committing sex crimes against our children?

And more recently: Didn't the rabbis sign a letter last April (2007) stating that they had made mistakes in the past and that they were now encouraging victims to go to our public authorities? What happened to that stance? Why did they go against their own words at this community gathering last week? Didn't the letter state that the Gedolei Ha Dor encourage us to report these crimes to the police? Why the double-talk now?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Calling sex crimes ‘statutory rape’ or ‘molesting’ diminishes the severity of the offense

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WENDY MURPHY: By any other name, it’s still rape
Calling sex crimes ‘statutory rape’ or ‘molesting’ diminishes the severity of the offense
The Patriot Ledger

Feb 23, 2008

QUINCY — Carl Stanley McGee, a top aide in Deval Patrick’s administration, was arrested recently in Florida and charged with committing a sex crime against a minor.

But newspaper stories about the case read less like crime than soft porn. Which raises the important question – how much is the media responsible for our failure to appreciate the seriousness of child sex abuse?

One Boston paper wrote that McGee, 38, was accused of “molesting” a 15-year-old boy and that he “performed oral sex” on the victim. I get the picture, but why no mention of the word “rape”? “Rape” is the proper term to describe any act that involves criminal sexual intrusion into the body – but it appears nowhere in the story.

The word “molest,” for most people, evokes an image of an unwanted hand landing somewhere around a child’s rear end. Indeed, the term literally means “to annoy” in a sexual manner. McGee’s victim was more than “annoyed.”

The word “molest” clouds the harsh truth and enables our brains to default to the least awful “pat on the fanny” interpretation. We can’t help it. It’s easier than envisioning the more gruesome reality of rape.

This is not good news for children. Soft peddling the harshness of child sex abuse only helps the offender.

And while we’re at it, let’s knock off the phrase “oral sex,” too. Calling rape oral sex is like saying a thief pleasantly withdrew your money. Sex is never rape. Rape is never sex. No matter what body parts are used.

Even when the word “rape” is used, it’s usually watered down by that sneaky misnomer “statutory” – as if the fact that the victim was a child was a mere technicality – or that a rule in a law book, rather than a human being, was victimized.

This is a widespread problem beyond our area. A respected writer at the New York Times wrote a column last week condemning the sex trafficking of children. But then he completely undermined the power of his piece by defining the offense as “statutory rape.”

And in a recent Philadelphia Daily News story, a teacher in his 30s was described as having been charged with multiple sexual offenses against a 14-year-old – a child he reportedly impregnated three different times. The perpetrator was accused of beating and threatening the child and forcibly causing vaginal and anal penetration. The Daily News summed up the crimes as “statutory rape.”

It’s time to stop the euphemisms, needless eroticism and hyper-technical legal lingo. We can’t begin to protect kids from sex predators if we don’t start telling the truth about what’s happening to them.

When the victim is under the age of consent, it isn’t “statutory rape”; it’s “rape of a child.” The whole point of having age-of-consent laws, whether for sex, alcohol, driving or smoking cigarettes, is to recognize that some people are, as a matter of law, too young to engage in certain dangerous behaviors. These laws also help protect vulnerable citizens from exploitation at the hands of more powerful adults.

It’s true that not all kids are the same and a small percentage of 15-year-olds might be capable of making more mature decisions. But we don’t make laws for the minority of children – we make laws to protect the interests of children as a class – and kids need protection from exploitation more than they need the “freedom” to have sex with adults.

Some reporters claim they use the term “statutory rape” to give context and to help the reader better understand the story. Nonsense. If modifiers were necessary to give clarity to the nature of the crime, we’d have lots of similar phrases like “parking lot rape,” “mall rape,” etc. But we don’t.
The truth is, we use the phrase “statutory rape” to soften the blow; to make rape of a child seem more like an accident than the serious felony that it is. This is the mantra of “progressives” who think all sex is a form of freedom. It isn’t. For abused kids, it’s more like slavery.

Some might find it harsh and even offensive to use graphic terms to describe the reality of child sex abuse.

But we need to call it what it is – not only because truth matters, but because it’s hard to know whether the legal system is treating crimes against children fairly if we’re not even sure what happened, and the story makes the fact that the victim was a child seem like a mere technicality.

Wendy Murphy is a leading victims rights advocate and network television legal analyst. She is an adjunct professor at New England School of Law and radio talk show host. She can be reached at

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sexual Abuse and The Vaad of Baltimore - By Vicki Polin

Vicki Polin / Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer

The Awareness Center, Inc.

(the international Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault)

P.O. Box 65273, Baltimore, MD 21209


Sexual Abuse and The Vaad of Baltimore

(© 2008) by Vicki Polin, MA, NCC, LCPC ATR-BC

At the urging of several friends I attended the event last week on child sexual abuse that was organized by the Vaad of Baltimore (Jewish Religious Court), The Sidran Foundation and the Shofar Coalition -- which has strong ties to Jewish Family Services of Baltimore.

I have to admit that I struggled a great deal with the fact that I did not want to attend. I was sure that Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer and David Mandel would go on and on about not reporting sex crimes to law enforcement, that the rabbis of Baltimore could deal with the cases on their own. I did not want to sit in a room filled with community members listening to their rationalization as to why the Vaad has notoriously ignored those who have been sexually victimized. I also could not bear listing to Rabbi Hopfer's speech considering his take on many cases in the community, especially the case of Rabbi
Eliezer Eisgrau, Rabbi Moshe Eisemann and Rabbi Yaakov Menken.

What shocks me the most about the program though, was the fact that it was sponsored by the Sidran Foundation, the Shofar Coalition (Jewish Family Services) and promoted by Phil Jacobs of the Baltimore Jewish Times on his blog.

One would think that a program like this would be informative and helpful. It would teach attendees how to make a hotline report and also encourage people in the community to work with the police when a crime has been committed. Especially a crime committed against our children.

The program was structured such that no direct questions were allowed. Instead attendees were given index cards in which they could write down their questions and Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb chose which ones were asked. I am aware that several people wrote questions regarding the cases of Rabbi Eisgrau, Eisemann and Menken, yet these questions were never posed to the speakers.

Toward the end of the presentation after Dr. Pelcovitz left, David Mandel got up to the podium and stated that sex crimes against children should be reported to the rabbonim. There were over 100 people in the room and no one was saying a thing. I kept hearing people gasping their breath. I finally raised my hand knowing I would not be called on. I could not sit back and be quiet. I had to ask the question "what about reporting allegations and suspicions to child protection services or calling the police". Mr. Mandel looked at me, turned his head and went on talking about using the rabbonim.

I have to ask the question, how can there be a room filled with people and not one person, other than me have the courage to ask that vitally important question? What was it that they were fearing? I know I wasn't the only one wanting Mr. Mandel or Rabbi Hopfer to respond.

It is a noble gesture on the part of Sidran and Project Shield that they are attempting to "educate" a group of people who have a vested interest in protecting their images and assets. The Vaad has no need to make changes in the way they operate until survivors of sex crimes have the courage to start taking these criminals to court both criminally and civilly. Unfortunately, we have learned from the Catholic church that without filing civil suits against those who cover up sex crimes (against both children and adults) nothing will ever change. How many years have to go by before the Baltimore community will face these facts? How many more children will have to be sexually victimized. Each day that goes by we are at risk of having another child live their lives as a rape victim.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sex Offender Enabler - rabbi Yaakov Hopfer on sexual abuse

Sex offender enabler, rabbi Yaakov Hopfer speaks about child sexual abuse in Baltimore, MD on February 20, 2008. Hopfer is the president of the Baltimore Vaad (Jewish religious court). Hopfer does not believe that one should utilize the secular legal system, instead believes in handling allegations on his own.

Below is a copy of the letter the Vaad (Jewish religious court) sent out to the Baltimore Jewish community a year ago. Since then nothing has changed, except that rabbi Moshe Heinemann wrote a letter banning the Baltimore Jewish Times, because they printed an article about a deceased rabbi who had an alleged history of molesting many children (both boys and girls for over a forty year period. The rabbi was Ephraim Shapiro. (click on images to enlarge)

The Hebrew in the letter signed by Rabbi Heineman translates to: "The verse in Mishlei 26:11, which states, 'As a dog returns to its vomit, so does a fool return to his folly,' see Ibn Ezra there."

Here's few of the cases where rabbi Hopfer's name is mentioned in the CALLS TO ACTION on:
  1. Case of Rabbi Moshe Eisemann
  2. Case of Rabbi Eliezer Eisgrau
  3. Case of Cantor Stuart Friedman
  4. Case of Rabbi Yaakov Menken
  5. Case of Rabbi Yisroel Shapiro
Part 2

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Baltimore's Vaad Presentation on Sexual Abuse

I've been told that there is a film of the presentations by Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer, David Mandel and David Pelcovitz. They are being prepared to go up on YouTube over the next few days.

There were many praises for the presentation conducted by Pelcovitz, even though there was no discussion about reporting crimes committed against children to the police.

I heard the highlight of the evening was David Mandel's lack of knowledge of needing to report suspicions and allegations sex crimes to legal authorities. I find this shocking considering he is the CEO of a mental health agency in New York, that is supposed to specialize working with "at risk" youth.

I was also asked if someone could name the following rabbis who are pictured below.
#1 Sheftl Neuberger - Ner Israel, Enabler of numerous sex offenders

#2 Beryl Weisbord (husband of Aviva Weisbord) - Ner Israel, Enabler of numerous sex offenders

#3 Shraga Neuberger - Ner Israel, Enabler of numerous sex offenders

#4 rabbi Avi Brilliant

#5 Yaakov Hopfer - President of Vaad, Enabler of sex offenders

#6 Daniel Lerner, Shraga Neuberger, Menachem (Michael) Goldberger

#7 rabbi Daniel Lerner and rabbi Moshe Hauer

8. rabbi Shmuel Silberg

9. David Mandel, CEO of Ohel - Enabler of numerous sex offenders

10. David Pelcovitz, Phd

This is a copy of the letter the Vaad (Jewish religious court) sent out to the Baltimore Jewish community a year ago. Since then nothing has changed, except that rabbi Moshe Heinemann wrote a letter banning the Baltimore Jewish Times, because they printed an article about a deceased rabbi who had an alleged history of molesting many children (both boys and girls for over a forty year period. The rabbi was Ephraim Shapiro. (click on images to enlarge)

The Hebrew in the letter above translates to: "The verse in Mishlei 26:11, which states, 'As a dog returns to its vomit, so does a fool return to his folly,' see Ibn Ezra there."

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer Continues To Commit Soul Murder

A Baltimore Minyan
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If you plan on attending rabbi Hopfer's presentation you might want to download the following PDF files, bring them with you and ask him about what's on them.


I have mixed feelings about the following event that is going to occur this week in Baltimore. I don't want to suggest anyone who wants to learn "how to keep their children safe", go to this event. Only go if you want to see first hand how the rabbonim of Baltimore is mimicking the Catholic Conference of Maryland, then this is your opportunity.

This political event is sponsored by Ohel Children's Home and Family Services, Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb, Phil Jacobs and Shofar Coalition of Baltimore, which is a spin-off of Esther Giller and the Sidran Foundation. The soul purpose is to make the orthodox Jewish community believe the rabbonim care and want to make changes. Unfortunately, the fact is the Vaad of Baltimore is not trustworthy organization and only care about protecting their assets and image of themselves and the alleged and convicted sexual predators they call "friends".

Even though the event sponsors (Ohel, Hopfer and Gottlieb) will not allow questions, make it a point to ask Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer:
  • How many years must go by before he will allow the Eisgrau survivor to see her siblings?
  • What needs to happen prior to him warning the Baltimore community about his findings on the case of Rabbi Moshe Eisemann?
  • Why is it that he told the administration at Ner Israel to "retire" him immediately, yet won't do the right thing and warn the community about this alleged sexual predator?
The institute for advanced professional training at Ohel Children's Home and Family Services

"How To Keep Our Children Safe"
When: Wednesday, February 20, 2008 - 8:00 PM
Where: Congregation Bnai Jacob Shaarei Zion - 6600 Park Heights Ave., Baltimore, MD

Welcome: Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb
(Congregation Shomrei Emunah)

Introduction: David Mandel
Chief Executive Officer
Ohel Children's Home and Family Services

Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer
Congregation Shearith Israel

Dr. David Pelcovitz
(self appointed) Nationally recognized authority on parenting, adolescent development, and other child-related issues
Gwendolyn & Joseph Straus Chair in Jewish Education
Azrieli School of Jewish Education, Yeshiva University

Monday, February 18, 2008

Passover is coming - Helping survivors of child abuse cope

Because many survivors of child abuse have a difficult time dealing with the upcoming time of year, I'm sharing the following youtube version of a sidur. Hope it makes you smile. It's very strange that's for sure.

Stranger Then Fiction - Tendler Boot Camp??

With all the allegations out there regarding various Tendler family members, couldn't Sholom Tendler come up with a better name?

Also how is it that the OU is endorsing anything connected with this man? I thought they were supposed to care about those who have been sexually victimized?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Domestic Violence? - The murder of Dr. Daniel Malakov

Doctor Is Charged in a Killing, and Her People Bear the Shame
New York Times
February 17, 2008

THE COMMERCE David Shemonov, a businessman, on 108th Street in Rego Park, Queens. Many shops cater to Bukharan Jews, immigrants from Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries. -- Uli Seit for The New York Times

Dr. Daniel Malakov’s name is still on the placard that hangs outside his office in Rego Park, Queens, even though he was killed three and a half months ago, and even though another orthodontist now works there in his stead.

Inside, across from the polished black desk where a receptionist answers calls in Russian, Dr. Malakov’s degrees and awards still crowd one wall.

His name hangs heavily over the small, proud community of Bukharan Jews who immigrated from
Uzbekistan in the early 1990s, and who speak of Dr. Malakov with reverence and sorrow.

Yet the manner of Dr. Malakov’s death has evoked something that this young immigrant group is not used to feeling: shame.

On Oct. 28, a brilliant Sunday morning, Dr. Malakov, who was 34, died after being shot three times in a playground close to his office and near 108th Street, the bustling heart of Bukharan society in Queens. He had brought his daughter, Michelle, 4, to be picked up by his estranged wife, Dr. Mazoltuv Borukhova, who is 34 and a physician. The pair had been in a rancorous custody battle over Michelle, and a judge, a week earlier, had given Dr. Malakov temporary custody of the girl. That morning, moments after Michelle ran into her mother’s arms, Dr. Malakov was shot. The gunman fled.

The Bukharan Jews in Queens reeled. Dr. Malakov was widely seen as gentle and humble, and his family was revered. His father, Khaiko Malakov, had been the chief of a major hospital in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, a former Soviet republic. His uncle Ezro Malakov was a famed musician. His brother, Gavriel, is a physical therapist; they shared the office in Rego Park. His sister, Stella, was a much-loved high school math teacher. She died of leukemia about a year before Dr. Malakov was killed; Khaiko Malakov, distraught, wrote a book about her.

“This is a known family,” said Alex Stanberg, 25, a Bukharan Jew. “Every person likes them.”

He added, “Why this happened, I cannot say. Now the Bukharans are in shame, for the first time ever.”
As the days and weeks after the shooting passed, allegations and the investigation into the crime only deepened the bewilderment of the Bukharan Jews.

Late in November, a distant relative of Dr. Borukhova’s was arrested and accused of murdering Dr. Malakov. On Feb. 7, Dr. Borukhova was arrested and charged with arranging the killing. According to the indictment, she and her relative, Mikhail Mallayev, had exchanged 91 phone calls in the days leading up to Dr. Malakov’s death.

She pleaded not guilty, but among the Bukharans in Queens, both Dr. Borukhova and her family had already been condemned.

Within hours of her son’s murder, Dr. Malakov’s mother, Malka, had begun blaming Dr. Borukhova. The next week, in a custody hearing for Michelle, Gavriel Malakov testified that Dr. Borukhova’s mother, Esta, screamed at his father, saying, “You will bury all your kids.”

The condemnation spread. It seemed unthinkable that anyone would arrange for a child to see her own father gunned down. (Michelle is now in foster care, though the Malakovs are trying to gain custody).
While the Malakov family is known and respected, few people seemed to know of the Borukhovas before the murder, and Dr. Borukhova’s testimony in family court after the murder that Dr. Malakov had repeatedly beaten her and sexually abused their daughter did little to sway their sympathy.

Long before her arrest, people on 108th Street, recognizing her face from news accounts, began staring stonily at Dr. Borukhova, sometimes falling silent or pointing when her relatives passed by. A few business owners turned members of the Borukhova family away. Some clients stopped going to her office, which she shared with her brother-in-law, Arthur Natanov.

Underlying the shock was a sense of amazement that a woman could have been behind Dr. Malakov’s murder.

“Women are usually respectful,” said Merik Mordecai, 43, a jeweler on 108th Street who is a Bukharan Jewish immigrant. The custody battle, he said, was for a court of law to decide. “What is going on with a Bukharan woman to have decided to do a thing like that?” he asked.

Through a rabbi, Dr. Borukhova and her family declined to comment. Her lawyer stressed that early judgments should not be made.

“Everybody should keep in mind the presumption of innocence, since she has entered a not guilty plea,” the lawyer, Stephen Scaring, wrote in an e-mail message.

But to many, the Borukhova name is already irreparably soiled, partly because they believe she has sullied them.

“I don’t ever want to see her, or her mother, or anyone of her blood,” said a limousine driver and Uzbek immigrant, who would not give his name. “We are all shamed, we are all depressed, because it is unbelievable.”

Bukharans began emigrating from Central Asia in significant numbers in the 1970s, but it was not until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 that they left in great waves, most bound for Israel or the United States.

Bukharan Jews have been in Central Asia for about 2,500 years, largely in what became the republics of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Deeply isolated, they spoke Russian and Bukhori, a hybrid of Farsi and Hebrew. In 2006, there were 17,277 people born in Uzbekistan living in the city, according to the Department of City Planning, but local religious leaders said the number was much larger. Rabbi Itzhak Yehoshua, the chief rabbi of the Bukharans in the United States, estimates that about three-quarters of the roughly 60,000 Bukharan Jews in America, mostly from Uzbekistan, live in New York. The vast majority settled in Queens.

The group is tight-knit. The Congress of the Bukharan Jews of the United States and Canada publishes its own version of the yellow pages, listing the names of every known Bukharan in the two countries.

As with any ethnic group emerging in another country, successes — and failures — are deeply felt. Having a doctor or lawyer or accountant in the family is highly valued, proof of success and acceptance in a newly adopted land. In this way, the Malakov murder was especially devastating.

“The immigrant way of thinking is very sensitive,” said Rabbi Yehoshua, who lives in Queens. “These were two successful young doctors, and after the shock was a feeling of opportunity lost. It’s an American dream that became a nightmare.”

The pairing of Dr. Malakov and Dr. Borukhova had seemed ideal. The couple adhered to the edict of marrying within their community. They were both well educated. Dr. Malakov had a degree from
New York University and also studied at Columbia. Dr. Borukhova was a specialist in internal medicine at North Shore University Hospital on Long Island.

But soon after the couple wed in December 2001, the relationship began to falter. Khaiko Malakov said that they often quarreled, especially over how to best raise Michelle, and that Dr. Borukhova’s mother, who lived with them, was deeply critical of Dr. Malakov. Local leaders tried to help patch things up. Rabbi Yehoshua met several times with the couple and their families, but, he said, the problems seemed nearly intractable, and puzzling.

“We believe in the system. We tried to mediate,” Rabbi Yehoshua said. “But in order for me to mediate, I have to feel a cooperation. But both of them were very difficult.

“It was difficult to understand, maybe there were issues I didn’t know about. But they weren’t listening,” he said.

The couple separated after Michelle was born, then reunited, then separated again. Then the custody battle began. After Dr. Malakov’s death, harsh allegations surfaced from both sides, both in and out of court. Dr. Borukhova said her husband’s outward charm disguised a vicious side, and described horrific abuse. The Malakov family said Dr. Malakov told them he was scared of his in-laws.

A state senator from Staten Island, Diane J. Savino, testified in family court that two of Dr. Borukhova’s sisters had approached her on Oct. 18, 10 days before the murder. They had been brought to the senator, a former child services caseworker, by staff members who thought she could help them. The sisters asked Ms. Savino what would become of Michelle if Dr. Malakov could not take care of her anymore. Dr. Malakov had been awarded temporary custody after complaining that his wife had thwarted his visitation rights.

Even now, after Dr. Borukhova’s arrest, the Malakov family fears retribution. A police officer was recently posted outside the home of Dr. Malakov’s parents.

Many along 108th Street said nothing could excuse Dr. Malakov’s murder, or the damage it almost certainly has inflicted on Michelle.

“We are ashamed, of course, but mostly we are so upset at what has happened to this little child,” said a woman wrapped in a floor-length fur coat who was buying fruit at an outdoor market near nightfall one day last week. She knew Dr. Borukhova, she said, and would not give her name. “It’s one thing to do this right in our community. It’s another to do it in front of a child.”

THE SPIRIT Itzhak Yehoshua, chief rabbi for Bukharan Jews in America, counseled Dr. Daniel Malakov and his estranged wife, Dr. Mazoltuv Borukhova.

WARNING: RABBI EPHRAIM BRYKS - DANGER to all women and children

Rabbi Ephraim Bryks, who is a member of the Vaad Harabanim of
>Queens and is said to frequently officiate gittin, has been
>active on Rosenfeld’s behalf, and has been in contact with
>the Hacohens, attempting to negotiate an agreement with them.

WATCH FILM: The Investigative documentary: "Unorthodox Conduct"contains graphic information regarding the case against Rabbi Ephriam Bryks. It was produced in 1994 by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Agunah in Oceanside struggles for a get
A local woman’s battle for freedom
The Jewish Star
Vol. 7, No. 6, Page 1 and 6
February 8, 2008

Susie Rosenfeld has been married to Ariel Hacohen since 2001, but for the last two and half years, she has been fighting to get both a civil divorce and a halachic one from him. After refusing to grant her a get, Hacohen was issued a seiruv in July 2006 by Rabbi Aryeh Ralbag of the Vaad Harabanim of Flatbush. Though a six-person jury recently voted unanimously granted Rosenfeld a civil divorce on grounds of cruel and inhuman treatment, she remains powerless in her struggle to obtain a get, whose absence forbids her to remarry under Jewish law.

“It’s sociopathic and it’s a control issue,” Rosenfeld said of her estranged husband’s behavior. “He wants to be in control of everything on his terms and in his own way.”
Rosenfeld, who is in her late 30s, lives in Oceanside and works as an ultrasound technician in Nassau County. Hacohen, in his late 40s, is currently unemployed, living with his parents, and collecting worker’s compensation for an injury he sustained several years ago.

“All I want is a get –– we have no children, no assets, and we’re not fighting over anything,” Rosenfeld told The Jewish Star. “He has nothing better to do than sit every night and think of ways to make me miserable. He’s a malingerer and a liar.

“He’s very vindictive and he’s pathetic...hiding in his parents’ house,” she added. “He doesn’t even show up in court because he wants to prolong this so I can no longer have children, which shows how vengeful this is.” Together with hundreds of volunteers, Rosenfeld has been mounting a public effort to exert communal pressure on Hacohen and his family to give her a get, through a letter writing campaign, petitions, e-mails and phone calls, notifying people of his refusal. With the assistance of ORA, the Organization for the Resolution of Agunot, rallies have been coordinated to champion this cause.

“The rallies are helpful to a extent, but not enough in this case,” explained Josh Ross, ORA’s executive director. “Sometimes it takes many tries.”

A protest staged by ORA in Sept. 2006 at the Hacohen house was notable for the appearance of counter-home protesters advocating the withholding of the get, men who were shouting obscenities and acting on behalf of Rabbi Shlomo Blumenkrantz, Hacohen’s rabbi.

This year, several rallies have also been held outside Rabbi Blumenkrantz’s Brooklyn home. Rabbi Blumenkrantz, who has been advising Hacohen, endorses the heter meah rabbanim, a rabbinical decree that allows a man to remarry without a get. He maintains that Hacohen has done everything right and Rosenfeld has done everything wrong in this case.

Rabbi Hershel Schachter, rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University, appeared at one of these rallies, on Nov. 4. He is vehemently against Rabbi Blumenkrantz’s actions and fundamentally disagrees with his policies. “To my great disdain, there is a particular rabbi in Brooklyn who regularly issues heter meah rabbanim that do not conform to accepted halachic guidelines,” Rabbi Schachter wrote in a letter to the Rabbinical Council of America, urging members of that organization to attend the rally. “In so doing, he is greatly increasing the incidence of agunah cases...The more people at the protest, the greater the likelihood that this rabbi will realize the harmfulness of his actions.”

Rosenfeld has also appealed to several other rabbis to enlist their help with her situation. One is Rabbi Shlomo Herbst, Hacohen’s former rabbi who officiated at their wedding and handled his divorce from his previous marriage.

“Rabbi Herbst gave Ariel his first get, and I specifically asked him if Ariel was a mentch and could be married again, and he said yes and agreed to marry us,” explained Rosenfeld. “I speak to him all the time, and he feels bad, but he hasn’t been able to do anything to help.”

“He’s not connected to me anymore,” explained Rabbi Herbst, describing his relationship with Hacohen. “He broke off with me over a year ago, and now he’s not returning my phone calls.”

“He used to come to me and listen to whatever I told him,” Rabbi Herbst continued but, unfortunately, that influence has lapsed. “I wasn’t involved, and then he found Rabbi Blumenkrantz. I wish I could be of more help but I cannot.”

Rabbi Ephraim Bryks, who is a member of the Vaad Harabanim of Queens and is said to frequently officiate gittin, has been active on Rosenfeld’s behalf, and has been in contact with the Hacohens, attempting to negotiate an agreement with them. It is not possible for Rosenfeld to talk to Hacohen herself, since he received an order of protection against her.

They have not spoken in a year and a half. “The Hacohens believe that there is a process that has to be followed, and that Susie has not followed that process,” said Rabbi Bryks. Though members of the Hacohen family refused to comment for this article, they support
Ariel in his belief that the only recourse is to attend a beit din presided over by Rabbi Blumenkrantz. Rosenfeld rejected this Beit Din because she felt that it was biased and unscrupulous. At one point, she told The Jewish Star, Rabbi Blumenkrantz suggested a payment of $100,000 to convince Hacohen to talk to her, but wouldn’t guarantee that she would receive a get. Blumenkrantz denied that claim.

Rosenfeld presented to Hacohen a list of several acceptable batei din from which he can choose. However, since they couldn’t agree on one, she instead suggested zabla, an arbitration procedure in which each party chooses one dayan, or judge, and those two dayanim then choose a third.

“Zabla works because even if there is one unethical rabbi, he would only be one out of three, and you need a majority,” Rabbi Bryks explained. “Even if his [Hacohen’s] dayan is Rabbi Blumenkrantz, she [Rosenfeld] will accept it. She would also be willing to go back to Rabbi Herbst. But the batei din he wants are unacceptable, and he feels that zabla is not the right process.”

The Hacohen family also feels that the public pressure being exerted is counter-productive, and that it is a form of harassment that needs to stop. “As long as the harassment continues, we will not continue to negotiate,” Rabbi Bryks said he was told by the Hacohen family. “We will not negotiate with a gun held to our heads.”

“Rabbi Blumenkrantz echoes the position of the family,” reported Rabbi Bryks, who has met with him in the past. “He says that the harassment must stop and that the names must be removed from the papers.”

However, earlier in the year, Hacohen said that if his name was taken out of the newspaper, and Rosenfeld did not speak publicly, as planned, at an Agunah awareness event at YU, he would agree to meet and discuss a settlement. Rosenfeld complied with these requests, but Hacohen never met with her.

“After that, his name went right back into the paper,” said Rosenfeld. “He is not to be trusted or believed.”

Hacohen has been offered a great deal in exchange for Rosenfeld’s get, but nothing seems to appease him. “He doesn’t want money; all he wants is to torture me,” Rosenfeld maintained. “I don’t think he should get a cent, but someone was willing to give him a blank check and he refused.”

At one point, about a year after she left him, Hacohen had said he wanted four things: Rosenfeld’s pension, her engagement ring, health insurance, and their dog. Rosenfeld was willing to comply with these demands, but Hacohen rejected it, she recalled, saying it was ‘too soon.’

In addition to the problem of communal pressure, the Hacohens feel that since Ariel is being wrongly portrayed, his reputation has been damaged, and they would like his good name to be restored.

It’s a Catch-22 situation,” Rabbi Bryks observed. “If he says he is being wronged, then he should go to a beit din. You can’t stand in the street and say that you have been wronged but then refuse to go to Beit Din.”

“Let all the claims be raised in front of the judge,” he advised. “Susie is not asking for anything. If their marriage is over, and everybody agrees it is, then you give the wife a get. If you don’t, that is considered abuse of the highest level.”

Hacohen’s family, which includes his parents and three married siblings, continue to stand behind him and support him, both financially and emotionally. “They defend him, and if you speak to his sister, she will say that he is a tzaddik,” Rosenfeld reported. “He doesn’t care that he is killing his parents and crucifying his siblings. Our family is hurting, and we want to know when their family is hurting enough to do the right thing.”

Since her grounds for getting a civil divorce have been approved, Rosenfeld is now asking a judge to put New York State’s Get Law Two into effect, under which the judge can issue punitive monetary rulings until she receives a get.

“But, until the rabbis come up with a solution, there is nothing that can protect a Jewish woman from this,” she concluded “There is nothing in halacha that accounts for crazy people like Ariel. He is spending his life in revenge, and as long as I can’t move on, he is happy. All I ever asked for is for him to give me a get.”

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh Girls Attacked

Squirrel Hill on alert after students accosted
By Joe Smydo
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Thursday, February 14, 2008

Schools in Squirrel Hill are warning parents and students to take extra precautions after a stranger accosted a group of girls on Hobart Street last week.

Two 9-year-olds and two 7-year-olds were walking home about 4:20 p.m. last Thursday when a man approached, spoke and attempted to pull down the younger girls' skirts, city police Cmdr. Thomas Stangrecki said yesterday.

The girls ran to a nearby house for help, and the man drove away in a small silver vehicle, Cmdr. Stangrecki said.

The girls attend Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, the Jewish school's president, Barry Faigen, said, noting the school asked police to step up patrols.

He said Hillel also alerted other schools, contacted parents and called an assembly to remind students about "stranger danger."

Cmdr. Stangrecki described the assailant as white, about 6-foot-1, with a thin build and short brown hair, wearing a blue baseball cap, blue and white-striped shirt, light blue pants and white tennis shoes.

Rabbi Aaron Kagan, of Kollel Jewish Learning Center, said he heard about a second incident in which a different man last week tried to lure a girl into his car. He did not have other details.

Mr. Faigen said that incident also may have involved a Hillel student but he did not know whether the girl's family had filed a police report. Cmdr. Stangrecki said he had no report.

Officials of two other Jewish schools in Squirrel Hill, Community Day and Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh, reported no problems involving their students. Ebony Pugh, spokeswoman for the Pittsburgh Public Schools, said she had received no reports of problems involving district students.

Rabbi Yisroel Rosenfeld, dean of Yeshiva Schools, said parents were sent an e-mail urging them to accompany children on the street if possible, or have older students look after younger ones.

"Hopefully, with everybody's awareness and everybody being concerned, we can avoid any future incidents," he said.

David May-Stein, principal of the school district's Pittsburgh Colfax K-8, yesterday sent parents a letter urging them to take precautions.

"It is imperative that parents report any incidents to the police," he said.

Mr. May-Stein said he intended to speak to younger students about stranger danger in a "developmentally appropriate manner" and would encourage middle-grade children not to walk alone. His letter offered safety tips and encouraged parents to speak to their children about the problem.

Ms. Pugh said Pittsburgh Minadeo PreK-5, another district elementary school in Squirrel Hill, would send a similar letter to parents.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Mini Conference - Darkness To Light: Ending Sexual Violence in Our Community

The Awareness Center Presents...

From Darkness To Light

Ending Sexual Violence in Jewish Communities

(Child Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault, Clergy Sexual Abuse, Professional Sexual Misconduct)

The Awareness Center is proud to announce our first -- all day Mini-Conference addressing Sexual Violence in Jewish Communities. Each day will feature different speakers that will be addressing various issues, concerns and aspects of healing relating to surviving sex crimes ) as both adults and children.

The conference is suggested for rabbis, cantors, mental health and legal professionals, survivors of sex crimes, family members and the general public.

Click Here For:

When: Sunday, April 6, 2008

Where: Winands Road Synagogue, Randallstown, MD

Workshop Facilitators:

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Awareness Center says: This is Outrageous - The Catholic Church in Maryland

The Awareness Center, Inc.
(the international Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault)
P.O. Box 65273, Baltimore, MD 21209

This is Outrageous!

The Catholic Church in Maryland

It's come to my attention that the Catholic church in Maryland is attempting to take away potential rights of every adult survivor of child sexual abuse. The real issue is about the Catholic church's attempts to protect their assets and their image.

As we all know the Catholic church as been in the news starting in 2003, for the number of cases they have of Priests and Nuns who molest. We all need to remember that the problem of sexual predators is NOT limited to those who are Catholic. Pedophillia has no religion. There are child molesters within every ethnic and community group -- religions and non-religions.

With the passage of HB 858 we will be allowing of survivors of child sexual abuse to have the opportunity to have their day in court. This bill would make those who commit sex crimes against children and those who cover up the crimes to be held accountable for their actions. This also means that alleged sex offenders will be exposed -- meaning they will no longer be able to continue on with their molesting careers. Each time this happens it means one less child will be come the next victim of a sex crime.

Estimates of the number of incest survivors vary. These discrepancies can be attributed to the fact that incest remains an extremely underreported crime. According to statistics from the National Center for Victims of Crime, 46 percent (46%) of children who were sexually violated, were victimized by a family member.

I personally feel it is cruel and unusual punishment to even considering placing a statutes of limitations on filing civil suit in cases involving survivors of childhood sexual abuse. There are many reasons why I say this. One major reason is that it takes most survivors many years to be in a place where they are ready and willing to enter into counseling and begin to deal with the horror of their childhood. Its also known in the clinical world that there are certain times that a survivor is more likely to go for help. These times include:

* Right after the abuse happened if they tell their parents and or have other support,

* When the survivor is old enough and capable of leaving home,

* Around the time the survivor is thinking about marriage or get married,

* When the survivor or their spouse is pregnant or right after their child is born,

* When the survivors own children reach the age they were when they themselves were abused,

* But most common is when they are in their forties or fifties. This is an age that most adults can focus in on themselves, they start reflecting on their lives and have the time to deal with things they never resolved.

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Please call both and write both Senator Jim Brochin and Eric Bromwell and let them know you support HB 858. Let them know that you also would like to help with the passage of this bill.

Del. Eric Bromwell, D-8

Sen. Jim Brochin, D-42


The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Thumbs down to the Catholic Church trying to regulate the civil rights of all children.

Proposed legislation won't protect youths, would harm Church
Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien
The Catholic Review

When you attend Mass this weekend, you will likely receive a letter from me informing you about expected state legislation that would pose a real and significant threat to our Church, including its parishes, schools, and other ministries. I urge you to read it carefully, as well as the additional materials that accompany it. They relate to the sad and painful issue of child sexual abuse in our Church.

Before I explain further about the legislation and why the Church is opposed to it, I wish to state from the outset that pastoral outreach to victims and protection of children must continue to be our touchstones in responding to this scandal. I am profoundly sorry that children have been abused by clergy and other representatives of our Church. When I first arrived in Baltimore, I was gratified to be fully informed about the long-standing policies and procedures of our Archdiocese to protect children. I was introduced to the safe-environment (STAND) training initiative that is required of all who work and volunteer with children on behalf of the Church, and I experienced firsthand the mandatory fingerprinting and background checks. I have also interacted with our Independent Review Board, which includes predominantly lay Catholic and non-Catholic individuals who oversee our child protection efforts by reviewing how each case is handled and making recommendations for improving our practices.

I also made it a priority to meet with abuse victims. I wanted to personally apologize to them and listen to them. I wanted to offer my personal support and find out what more our local Church could be doing to assist them in their healing. Personally, these issues are difficult and painful. No apology can return these individuals to the innocence of their childhoods and, for some, no words can restore their faith in our Church. As a Church, we must continue to reach out to survivors, regardless of laws, regardless of court actions, because it is the morally right and just thing to do.

While we cannot undo the tremendous harm done to victims, we have the responsibility to provide concrete steps to facilitate their healing. For many years, the first action taken by the Archdiocese when an abuse allegation is made against a representative of the Church has been to offer assistance with healing. The individual chooses the treatment provider, and the Archdiocese pays for the counseling or other treatment for as long as it is helpful to the abuse victim. The same offer is made for the individual’s family members. This offer is made regardless of the age of the incident and despite the fact that there is no legal obligation to do so. In some cases, cash settlements are appropriate and have been paid. To date, more than $6.5 million has been paid for victim counseling and direct assistance to survivors.

Despite our long-standing and strenuous efforts to reach out to victims and protect children, we expect that proposed legislation will be introduced again this year (as it has been in four of the last five years) that would permit trial lawyers to bring civil lawsuits for money damages based on incidents that are alleged to have occurred many decades ago. The proposed legislation would retroactively suspend for two years the statute of limitations for civil child sexual abuse cases against perpetrators and private institutions such as dioceses, parishes, and schools regardless of how long ago the alleged abuse occurred. The Archdiocese is opposed to this legislation for four important reasons.

First, the legislation will do nothing to protect children. The proposed legislation has no provisions to increase awareness of child abuse, promote counseling, toughen criminal penalties, or mandate background checks for employees and volunteers. In fact, by condoning long delays during which abuse may continue, the legislation would undermine current child protection laws that require the immediate reporting of child abuse. It must be pointed out that this legislation does not impact time limits on criminal actions. In Maryland, gratefully, there is no time limit on the prosecution of felonies, and a person who commits child abuse can be prosecuted until the day he dies.

Second, the proposed legislation is unfair because it forces the Church of today to pay millions of dollars for incidents that are alleged to have occurred many decades ago. The legislation would change the rules of our legal system to retroactively permit claims regardless of how long ago they are alleged to have occurred. For example, California passed a similar law in 2002 and half of the lawsuits filed against the Diocese of San Diego involved priests who were dead, and some of the lawsuits involved allegations of abuse dating back to the 1940s. Statutes of limitations in civil lawsuits are designed to protect the interests of all parties and help guarantee that legal disputes are resolved in a timely and fair fashion. Statutes of limitations ensure that witnesses are available, memories are fresh, and documents are intact, and they apply to virtually every type of civil claim. They are relied on by people and organizations in our nation of laws to plan their affairs. The Maryland Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, recognized this when it ruled that it is unconstitutional to revive retroactively a lawsuit that had been barred by limitations, which is what the legislation in question proposes to do.

Third, the proposed legislation would financially devastate the Archdiocese, our parishes, and ministries. The dioceses in Maryland and their current parishes and ministries would be the subject of many decades-old suits that would cost the Church enormous sums of money. The Catholic Church is the largest private provider of social services in Maryland. Its schools educate more than 60,000 students, including many who are low-income, minorities, or non-Catholic. Its hospitals and clinics provide medical services to assist the homeless, the unemployed, immigrants, and pregnant women. The potential impact is enormous. Payments in connection with child sexual abuse claims against the Catholic Church already total nearly $1.8 billion, with trial lawyers taking some 40 percent – or approximately $720 million – of the amounts paid by the Church. Five dioceses in the country have filed for bankruptcy, and countless good works of the Church have been hurt or altogether abandoned. There is no reason to believe that the Maryland legislation, if approved, will not have a similarly devastating impact on the services and programs of the Church in our state.

Finally, the proposed legislation treats the Catholic Church differently from public organizations. Government agencies, including public schools, are afforded many more protections against civil suits than private institutions such as the Archdiocese and our parishes and schools. A civil action brought against most public employees or government agencies is subject to much shorter time deadlines (as short as six months) and strict limits on the amount of damages that may be recovered. The proposed legislation would not alter the existing special time deadlines and damages caps that apply only to government entities. To those who claim that this legislation is about protecting children, I ask: “Why then does the legislation not apply to public settings where abuse has been shown to be much more prevalent?”

It is my duty, and my commitment, as Archbishop to support victims and protect children. It is also my duty to oppose legislation that would unfairly and unnecessarily devastate the enormous good work done today by so many faithful priests, employees, and volunteers.

I ask you to join me in praying this Lenten season for all who have been touched by the sin and crime of child sexual abuse. I also ask for your prayers for our Church as we continue to work for healing, the protection of children, and reconciliation.